February 14, 2010

Amandina by Sergio Ruzzier

A few summers ago, I was in the midst of mounting a production of a musical at the Toronto Fringe Festival when Cathy asked me to read a picture book called Amandina by Sergio Ruzzier. Right Away, I could see why she had put it aside for me. Amandina is the story of a shy little dog who loves to sign and dance. She decides to put on a play all by herself, taking on the roles of writer, director, costume designer, poster designer, and star. Amandina is thrilled with her production, but when the curtain rises, there isn't a single soul in the audience. Sad but determined, Amandina falls back on that old show biz Mantra, "The Show Must Go On." She closes her eyes and gives her best performance. Before her final bow, Amandina thinks she hears the thunderous applause of a spellbound audience, but she is convinced she must be imagining it. Or is she?

Needless to say, this quiet but powerful book struck a chord with me and I was bawling before I reached the last page. Amandina now lives on my personal bookshelf, and I have given it to many of my friends of the artistic persuasion. Ruzzier's illustrations are soft and playful. a perfect compliment to his gentle text. Sometimes life is disappointing, but the important thing is to keep your chin up and carry on; you never know what's waiting in the wings. - Vikki

Read an in depth review of Amandina at Fuse 8 and an interview with more illustrations at Seven Impossible Things to do Before Breakfast.

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